MicroRNA 320a predicts chronic axial and widespread pain development following motor vehicle collision in a stress-dependent manner

Sarah D. Linnstaedt, Kyle D. Riker, Margaret G. Walker, Jennifer E. Nyland, Erin Zimny, Christopher Lewandowski, Phyllis L. Hendry, Kathia Damiron, Claire Pearson, Marc Anthony Velilla, Jeffrey Jones, Robert A. Swor, Robert Domeier, Samuel A. Mclean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


FisheyeSTUDY DESIGN: Prospective human cohort study combined with molecular studies. FisheyeBACKGROUND: A microRNA is a small, noncoding RNA molecule that can play a role in disease onset. Recent studies found that circulating levels of microRNA 320a (miR-320a) are associated with musculoskeletal pain conditions and that miR-320a is stress responsive. FisheyeOBJECTIVES: To investigate whether circulating expression levels of miR-320a in the peritraumatic period predict persistent axial musculoskeletal pain 6 months after motor vehicle collision (MVC). FisheyeMETHODS: We evaluated whether (1) circulating miR-320a and related members of the miR-320a family predict axial musculoskeletal pain and other musculoskeletal pain outcomes 6 months following MVC, and (2) miR-320a regulates stress system and pain-related transcripts in cell culture. Given the wealth of data suggesting that biological mechanisms influencing pain outcomes are often sex and/or stress dependent, interactions between miR-320a, stress, and sex were evaluated. FisheyeRESULTS: In primary analyses (n = 69), a significant crossover interaction was observed between the influence of circulating miR-320a and peritraumatic distress (β = -0.01, P = .002) on post-MVC axial musculoskeletal pain. Reduced peritraumatic miR-320a expression levels predicted axial musculoskeletal pain in distressed individuals (β = -0.12, P = .006) but not nondistressed individuals. In secondary analyses, miR-320a predicted widespread musculoskeletal pain, and related members of the miR-320a family also predicted axial and widespread musculoskeletal pain. In cell culture, miR-320a bound stress and pain-associated 3′UTR transcripts (FKBP5, ADCYAP1, PER2, and NR3C1). FisheyeCONCLUSION: These data suggest that miR-320a may help mediate regional and widespread changes in pain sensitivity after MVC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-919
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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